FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016 |
Posted by: Mike Montemarano
James Blake's latest single, "Timeless," takes a pensive approach to synth pop; it begins as a really quiet but bass-driven composition, which is a weird enough combo in and of itself. The fact that he's created elaborate electronic music which could be carried by his airy, raspy singing shows some impressive studio qualities that synth pop fans have heard very little of (outside, perhaps, the oeuvre of Blake himself).
The fact that this song gets amped up by a single note on the synth getting played nonstop for a good forty seconds shows how Blake can work with rhythms and sound effects in such a way that his tunes barely even beg for the jazzy melodies he injects into his tracks. That's not to say that his more traditional knacks for songwriting don't come into play; they add a really cool vibrancy to the already trippy timbre on "Timeless."
There's simply nothing lacking in the way Blake uses bizarre, ethereal chords and wobbling bass to complement his voice in a way that gives his music a distinguished and eerie personality. The Thom Yorke-esque musical presence he pulls off through a sophisticated take on vocal and instrumental effects gives tracks like "Timeless" a memorable quality that pierces through the noise, and really gives synthpop musicians a musical height that anyone would be proud to be comparable to. Blake's capacity to create entire soundscapes from minimalist music shows the awe-inspiring transformations electronic music can create within a melody.
I wouldn't exactly attribute the word "Timeless" to Blake's latest releases, because the first description they evoke in my mind is futuristic. Radio Silence (Blake's upcoming record) seems to be living up to that promise. Blake seems to be one step ahead of himself on the production end, because he's taken his sound to even more intense levels.